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The best dividend stocks of 2014: It’s never too late to buy

It’s August, and you’re still searching for the best dividend stocks of 2014. You might even feel bad that you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the right time to invest.

With term deposits and bank accounts lucky to be paying 4% in interest, you might be jealously eyeing off the dividend yields of over 5% on offer from many ASX-listed stocks. And that’s really fine.

I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late to start looking for great stocks that you can buy and hold for years to come.

Let’s take a look at a few fantastic companies with great dividends, a record of increasing those payouts and most importantly, are well-positioned to reward shareholders for years to come.

Since January 1992, Sonic Healthcare Limited (ASX: SHL) has delivered shareholders a 17,915% total capital return. If you include dividends that return more than doubles to 38,600%. Now, you might look at the company’s meagre 3.6% partly franked (45%) dividend and sneer. But it’s the long term returns that are important. And over the long term, there’s no doubt Sonic has well and truly delivered.

And then there’s the company I’ve long regarded as the best company on the ASX, biotech CSL Limited (ASX: CSL). Since June 1994, CSL has returned shareholders 11,012%, but add in dividends and the return jumps to near 16,000%. CSL is currently paying a measly 1.8% dividend. What you may not realise though, is that shareholders still received $1.20 in dividends per share last financial year.

Here’s another example for you.

Long term shareholders in Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) have seen gains of 3,695% since December 1995. Add in dividends, and the gains soar to 6,762%. Flight’s current yield is 3.2% fully franked.

The lesson here is if you’re looking for maximum yield today, these may not be the stocks for you. But if you are looking for investments to hold for the long term and received dividends along the way to boost returns, then all three companies deserve a closer look.

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